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God Is Great And I'm Not

TITLE: God Is Great And I'm Not
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Pascale Bailly
LANGUAGE: French w/ English ST
TIME: 95 min in 35mm
SOURCE: Empire Pictures 350 Fifth Avenue #7801 New York, NY 10118 tel/212 629 3097 fax/212-629-3629
TEXT: As the sparklingly expressive star of the Oscar-nominated AMÉLIE, Audrey Tautou won the hearts of audiences around the world. She's back with another relentlessly charming performance; this time in a very contemporary romantic comedy that reaches out across cultural boundaries. Tautou plays Michèle, a high-strung Parisian supermodel who falls in love with François, a down-to-earth Jewish veterinarian. Their already improbable relationship turns into a series of hilarious and ironic situations when she decides, despite her non-observant boyfriend's vigorous protests, to convert to Judaism and teach him about his religion. Edouard Baer is charismatic and believable as the overwhelmed François. And Mathieu Demy, star of last year's SFJFF Opening Night Film ONCE WE GROW UP, is delightful as Michèle's pesky but endearing ex-boyfriend. Director and screenwriter Pascale Bailly deftly converts her characters' cultural differences and eccentricities into a stream of lighthearted social satire that makes us laugh out loud. Shown at 2002 and Lincoln Center French Film Fest 2002, and in November 2002. Filming: Production of this movie took place in Paris, France in 1999. Official French Site:

Wax and the Wicks, The

TITLE: Wax and the Wicks, The
YEAR: 2002
DIR/PROD: Rabbi David Floyd Nesenoff
TIME: 13 min in Beta SP
SOURCE: Try films. POB 16, East NorthPort, NY 11731 Tel/ 631-754-3388
Text: Enter the doors of the hair salon and meet religion, recipes, September 11th and hairdo preferences. Seen at

Complaints of a Dutiful Daughter

TITLE: Complaints of a Dutiful Daughter
YEAR: 1994
DIR/PROD: Deborah Hoffman
TIME: 60
SOURCE: Women Make Movies, 462 Broadway, Suite 500, New York, NY 10013 (212) 925 0606, Fax: 212-925-2052
TEXT: Oscar winning documentary is a moving, personal story which illuminates the relationship between the filmmaker and her mother, who suffers from an advancing case of Alzheimer's disease. Was broadcast in 1995 as part of the PBS POV series. Note to file: On April 23, 2002, Doris Hoffman, Deborah's mother died at the age of 94 in Oakland, CA, eight years after this film was released. This film won more than 30 awards, including a Peabody and an Emmy.

Anna's Summer

TITLE: Anna's Summer
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Jeanine Meerapfel
COUNTRY: Germany
LANGUAGE: German, Greek, Spanish, w/Eng. subtitles
TIME: 35mm / 103 minutes
SOURCE: Andrea Breitkeuz, Media Luna MediaLuna-Entertainment.De Koln, Germany OR
Heike Krieg Media Luna Entertainment GmbH & Co. KG. Hochstadenstrasse 1-3 D-50674 Cologne Koln Germany Phone: 49-221-1392222 Fax: 49-221-1392224
TEXT: Veteran filmmaker Jeanine Meerapfel (MALOU, LA AMIGA) returns with a sensual, amusing, and visually stunning work that traces the psychological journey of a 50-year-old photojournalist, Anna, who returns to the Greek island of her childhood to close a chapter of her life, and in the process unexpectedly begins a new one. Anna (played by Spanish actress Angela Molina) welcomes the friendly spirits of her Sephardic-Jewish ancestors when she discovers an old family trunk in the abandoned home that she has just inherited. What emerges from the ghosts of memory are long-buried remnants of family history: an odyssey of exile, deportation and forbidden love. Her dreamlike encounters are punctuated by cooking spells and the sexual attention of the handsome, and younger, Nico. With an enchanting Greek music score, this story blends memories of days past with the colors and sound of today's Mediterranean atmosphere. (
Anna, a 50-year-old photojournalist of Sephardic Jewish origin, leaves her home in Berlin after her mother's death and journeys to the picturesque Greek island of her childhood to claim her inheritance, the family house. She plans to pack up the house quickly and sell it, but what on the surface seems like a simple mission becomes more difficult as the woman comes across old family documents that draw her into the depths of her memory and family history. Memories, secrets and ghosts from the past begin to surface - her father's odyssey of exile and deportation, his escape from the Nazis, his love for another woman before he married her mother, Anna's recently-deceased German lover, and more. As she confronts the multiple stories that form her own life story, Anna recognizes her love for her family home, a realization that will help her move on... Jeanine Meerapfel, whom we remember for her fine debut Malou (1981), presents a poetic, sensual, melancholic and often amusing work. The film's layered plot is structured by the protagonist's memories, and not in any chronological order. Successfully gliding between time, place and language, Meerapfel explores the highly personal themes of identity, emigration and family history. The breathtaking location cinematography and rich soundtrack add to the atmosphere of the film, while Angela Molina gives an excellent performance as the pivotal character surrounded by so many friendly ghosts - Jerusalem Film Festival.

Not Another Jewish Movie

TITLE: Not Another Jewish Movie
YEAR: 2002
DIR/PROD: The 2001 NJFP Students / The San Francisco Jewish Film Festival
TIME: 16mm , 13 minutes
SOURCE: New Jewish Filmmaker Project, 346 Ninth Street, San Francisco, CA 94103 tel/415-621-0556 www.sfjff.ORG/Project email/ jewishfilm@sfjff.ORG
TEXT: This quirky Jewish film features a chorus of eleven Bay Area teenagers, each grappling with ambivalent feelings about their connection to Jewish culture and a sense of uneasiness about participating in mainstream American life. With a healthy mixture of offbeat humor and beautiful images of Bay Area architecture and landscapes, this highly anticipated first offering of the New Jewish Filmmaker Project presents a candid, eccentric vision of what it means to grow up Jewish in the Bay Area.
BRAVO to the SFJFF. I would be happy to recreate this program in NYC

Across Time and Space

TITLE: Across Time and Space
YEAR: 2002
DIR/PROD: Kathryn Golden
LANGUAGE: German and English, w ST
TIME: 56 min on Beta SP
SOURCE: Searchlight Films 2600 Tenth Street Suite 102, Berkeley CA 94710 510-845-4135
TEXT: Seen at Welcome to a world of ideas and ideals that democracy and tolerance begins within the institutions that educate the next generation. The Marienau School in Germany and the Roeper School in America were founded by the German Jewish Bondy Family to teach children to find success in solving problems through tolerant, nonviolent, workable school democracy. The tragic events of the Holocaust increased the family's dedication to their mission, that equal rights for all people - particularly children -should be a priority. Eighty-year-old Annemarie Bondy Roeper, compared to Maria Montessori, lives in the Bay Area and links generations. She felt the urgency to have this story told when she learned of the Roeper School's intent to publish a history without including the family's Jewish Holocaust experience

Tangled Roots

TITLE: Tangled Roots
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Heidi Schmidt Emberling
TIME: 66 min on Beta SP
SOURCE: New Day Films 22d Hollywood Avenue HoHoKus NJ 07423 Tel: 201-652 6590
Spirit Productions 214 Chesterton Place San Mateo, CA 94401 Phone: 650-347-5123 Fax: 650-347-5099
TEXT: What happened when you reveal the truth about the people you love? Bay Area filmmaker Heidi Schmidt Emberling confronts her German Lutheran father and American Jewish mother about the devastating secrets and painful silence about the past. As she struggles to reconcile her dual identity as both a German and a Jew she discovers a complex family legacy, shaped by war, courage, prejudice and fear.
Filmmaker Heidi Schmidt Emberling's father immigrated to America from Germany in the early 1960s with the dream of making movies in Hollywood. There, he met Janet, Heidi's mother. When the couple eloped to Las Vegas, Janet's Jewish family nearly disowned her for marrying a German. Now Heidi confronts her parents about the past as she struggles to reconcile her dual identity as both a German and a Jew. Through intimate interviews with her Jewish relatives in America and her German Lutheran relatives abroad, she discovers a rich family tapestry spanning three continents. Family ties are tested as Heidi struggles with issues of race, religion, and prejudice on both sides of the family. Ultimately, Heidi draws strength from her family's love, her faith, and her deepening understanding of the complexities of the human experience.

Between The Lines

TITLE: Between The Lines
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Yifat Kedar
LANGUAGE: Arabic, Hebrew, w/Eng. subtitles
TIME: Beta SP, color, 58 min.
SOURCE: High Light Films Ltd POB 1830 Ramat HaSharon 47117 Osrael 9723-7488176 fax 9723 6471959 email:
TEXT: Seen at How many journalists do you kow who have their own HATE CLUBS?? This is a voyage into Amira Hass's unique world, where she is a reporter in the Palestinian Territories for the respected Israeli newspaper, Ha'aretz. Hass is the only Israeli journalist to live in Ramallah, just 30 miles north of Jerusalem. From her rented apartment there, she is a unique source of information for her readers in Israel and around the world. What is revealed is a journalist obsessed with the truth, a single woman in a traditionally male dominated society, and the only child of a mother who survived the Holocaust. The film follows Amira for two years, beginning in 1999, when there was a period of optimism and euphoria in Israel. The worsening political situation, accurately predicted by Amira, affects her daily life. As tanks go by under her window and bombing disturbs her sleep during the nights, she sticks to her mission and stays to live among the Palestinians and continue to report from the inside.

Bin and Jerry's Fundamental Principles

TITLE: Bin and Jerry's Fundamental Principles
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Bart Weiss
TIME: 2 minutes on Beta SP
SOURCE: write to Bart Weiss in Dallas TX at Bart@videofest.ORG
TEXT: Scintillating insights by the Reverend Jerry Falwell mixed with the visual splendor of Osama Bin Laden provide keen insight into fundamentalism

A Bridge of Books

TITLE: A Bridge of Books
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Sam Ball
TIME: 13 min in video
SOURCE: write to Sam in San Francisco at
TEXT: This documentary is an engaging chronicle of how an enterprising 23-year-old named Aaron Lansky rallied together an international network of volunteers and set out to rescue the world's Yiddish books


TITLE: Casting
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Emmanuel Finkiel
LANGUAGE: Yiddish and French with English ST
TIME: 90 min in Beta SP
SOURCE: Yael Fogiel Les Films du Poisson 54 Rue Rene Boulanger Paris 75000 France FilmFish@club-internet.Fr Tel 331-42-02-5480 Fax 331 42 02 5472
TEXT: To cast the French Oscar-winning films MADAME JACQUES SUR LA CROISETTE and VOYAGES (both featured at the 2000 SFJFF), director Emmanuel Finkiel printed an ad: "Yiddish speakers, 65-90 yrs. old, wanted for fiction film." He was flooded with responses and obtained some of the best acting performances we've seen. One day, he got a call from a woman whose father had recently died. She wanted a tape of her father's audition. While searching through hours of rushes, Finkiel realized that each of the men and women he'd interviewed were worthy of a documentary. "CASTING traces the astonishing portrait of a generation haunted by the past, but overflowing with life, with stories, and bristling with energy. Funny and intimate, mocking but tender . . . this parade of eccentric and powerful personalities renews our connection to a way of being that will soon disappear..." Catherine Humblot, Le Monde

Gimme A Kiss

TITLE: Gimme A Kiss
YEAR: 2000
DIR/PROD: Lilly Rivlin
TIME: 56 min on Beta SP
SOURCE: Mike Tuckman Cinema Guild 130 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016-7038 Tel/212-6856242
TEXT: New York-based writer, activist, and filmmaker Lilly Rivlin (THE TRIBE, SFJFF 1983) records the final years of her parents' marriage revealing a loving and even flirtatious relationship. While this is an expected ending to a conventional marriage where the father has many mistresses and the mother patiently takes the abuse, Lilly probes further to see how this reality affected her and her sister and brother. The film presents a nuanced portrait of an all-American immigrant family where infidelity is hidden and accepted.

Dancing With My Father

TITLE: Dancing With My Father
YEAR: 2002
DIR/PROD: Marcia Rock
TIME: 54 min, on Beta SP
SOURCE: Marcia Rock, 100 Bleeker Street 13-e NY NY 10012 212-777-1070. Marcia.Rock@Nyu.EDU
TEXT: An intimate family portrait of how adult love is often shaped by what a child learns at home. "My father loves to dance," says filmmaker, writer, and NYU Professor, Marcia Rock. Dance is the correct metaphor for the evasive and distant relationship with her father, a dance seemingly replicated in her marriage and adult relationships. Delving into a complex emotional genealogy, she explores her childhood in suburban Cleveland and travels to her grandmother's childhood in rural Slovakia to uncover thwarted hopes, misdirected ambition, and deeply guarded family secrets.

Desparado Square

TITLE: Desparado Square
YEAR: 2000
DIR/PROD: Benny Torati
LANGUAGE: Hebrew w/ English ST
TIME: 97 min in 35mm
SOURCE: Ronnie Manor TMH Productions 106 Yehudi HaLevi Street Tel Aviv 65276 Israel 972-3-562 0557.
TEXT: DESPERADO SQUARE takes place in the atmosphere of a Mediterranean community of Greek Jews living in a dusty village somewhere outside of Tel Aviv, totally removed from big-city culture. The cinema is the center for the town where various characters, all well known in the village, gather for love, fantasies, and family drama. Thus, the village is frustrated when the local cinema is shuttered. Against an artful backdrop of small-town life, the film reveals a forbidden love. Dormant passions of love and loss, mystical vows and dreams, Greek cultural customs and brotherly love abound when a mysterious man, Avram, returns to town. Avram left in shame twenty years earlier and took with him the suggestive Indian film SANGAM (starring Raj Kapoor). Inspired by a dream, the theater reopens unfolding a romantic mystery between Avram and the sultry Signora, the wife of his now-deceased brother. A stellar cast including the prominent Arab Israeli actor Muhammad Bakri (BEYOND THE WALLS, CUP FINAL) as Avram, Ayelet Zorer (DYBUK OF THE HOLY APPLE FIELD, FLORENTENE) and Nir Levi (YANNA'S FRIENDS). With an evocative soundtrack of Greek, Israeli, and Indian music. Altogether an exotic treat.

Fantasy - Another Country

TITLE: Fantasy - Another Country
YEAR: 1999
DIR/PROD: Sharon Hammou and Avi Hershkovitz
LANGUAGE: Arabic with English ST
TIME: 52 min in Beta SP
SOURCE: Send an email to the directors in Paris France at sharonH@noos.FR or avihtz@noos.FR
TEXT: Tel Aviv is a city that never sleeps. But an Arab and a Jew working together on a drag show sounds more like New York, Paris or Barcelona. In Israel it sounds like a fantastic story. It is actually the story of Samy Gaber, Palestinian-Israeli from Jaffa, and Michael Shimeon, a Yemenite Jew from the religious village of Bnai-Darom. Both came to Tel Aviv because as gay men, they could not see their lives anywhere else in Israel. What they found were adoring audiences, glamorous costumes, and the tensions that exist between different ethnic and national groups in Israel.

From Bombay to Tel Aviv

TITLE: From Bombay to Tel Aviv
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Amrita David
LANGUAGE: English French, Hebrew, Marathi, w/Eng. subtitles
TIME: 62 min video
SOURCE: 62 Rue de Montreuil Paris 75011 France. 331-43-794234
TEXT: In this fascinating personal documentary, filmmaker Amrita David traces her family's immigration story from India to Israel, back to India and finally to Paris, where she has lived most of her life. Her people, the B'nei Israel, the most ancient of India's three Jewish communities, are believed to have come to India from the Galilee in the 2nd Century BCE. While in appearance they resemble the non-Jewish Maratha people, in many of their traditions they resemble Jews all over the world. Amrita explores the unique and diverse B'nei Israel heritages of family members who stayed in India, those who chose to remain in Israel, and young people, like herself, who embraced European culture, while struggling to remain Maratha Jews

A home on the range

TITLE: A home on the range
YEAR: 2002
DIR/PROD: Bonnie Burt and Judy Montell
TIME: 50 min in Beta SP
SOURCE: 2600 Tenth Street, Berkeley CA 94710. Burt/Montell Productions. Tel/510-548 1745
TEXT: Jewish Chicken Farmers in Petaluma? It's true, and finally their story is told by Festival favorites, Bay Area filmmakers Bonnie Burt (TREES CRY FOR RAIN, SFJFF 1992; ABRAHAM AND EUGENIA, SFJFF 1995) and Judy Montell (FOREVER ACTIVISTS, SFJFF 1991; TIMBRELS AND TORAH, SFJFF 2000). Fleeing the pogroms and hardships of Eastern Europe these immigrants skipped the sweatshops of New York to become farmers in Northern California. It is a classic immigrant story with a twist. When the left-wing ranchers support union organizers they are met by local vigilantes who want to maintain the status quo. Even more contentious, who controls the community center? Religious and secular Jews argue over control for years. Reflecting three generations of Jewish families, HOME ON THE RANGE tells of the challenges all American Jews face... of maintaining a Jewish identity in America today.

Song of a Jewish Cowboy

TITLE: Song of a Jewish Cowboy
YEAR: 2002
DIR/PROD: Bonnie Burt
LANGUAGE: English, w/Eng. subtitles, Yiddish
TIME: 15 minutes in Video
SOURCE: 2600 Tenth Street, Berkeley CA 94710. Burt/Montell Productions. Tel/510-548 1745
TEXT: Scott Gerber learned Yiddish and progressive songs from his mother and grandmother. A proud descendant of the left-wing Petaluma Jewish chicken ranchers, he works as a cowboy today. He rides the range and sings cowboy and Yiddish songs bridging two very different worlds. Web Address:

More Precious Than Gold

TITLE: More Precious Than Gold
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Alexander and Luba Cherney
TIME: Beta SP, color, 6 minutes
SOURCE: In North America, contact Terry COles. Maple Lake. TLColes@maplelake.MB.CA www.MapleLake.MB.CA 607-595 River Avenue Winnipeg MB r32oEG Canada 204-474-1896
TEXT: An animated tale set many years ago in ancient Israel. Three merchants travel on a sailboat each boasting about their fabulous goods. Another passenger sits quietly, poring over his book, but assures the merchants that what he carries with him is more precious than gold. Web Address:

L'chayim comrade stalin

TITLE: L'chayim comrade stalin
YEAR: 2002
DIR/PROD: Yale Strom
LANGUAGE: English, Russian, w/Eng. subtitles, Yiddish
TIME: Beta SP, color, 90 min.
SOURCE: 212 781 9192 Blackstream Films
TEXT: Prolific and soulful writer, musician, composer and filmmaker Yale Strom (AT THE CROSSROADS, THE LAST LEZMER, and CARPATI: 50 Miles, 50 Years) returns to the SFJFF for the fourth time with his latest offering about the first Jewish state, the Jewish Autonomous Region of Siberia! Stalin artificially invented it in 1928 to create an alternative to the religious expression of Judaism and the growing Zionist political movement in the USSR. The State, during its heyday, attracted some 40,000 Jews. Strom takes his camera and himself on a seven-day trip via the Trans Siberian Railroad with surprising results. His interpreter and bodyguard (and former KGB agent) Slava is in fact the grandson of Mikhail Kalinin, the first president of the USSR and the architect of the J.A.R. The endless train trip and the casual anti-Semitism of his Russian fellow passengers immerse Strom in the experiences of the first Jewish pioneers to settle in the region. His interviews with early pioneers both in the US and Russia paint a vivid portrait of the circumstances surrounding this unique chapter in Soviet and world history.
Twenty years before the birth of the modern state of Israel, Stalin decided to establish the Jewish Autonomous Region of Birobidzhan in the Soviet Union's Far East, closer to Korea than to Moscow. His motives for doing so were not laudatory - he wanted to control the country's Jews and diminish what he felt was their malignant influence - but, nonetheless, Jews from all over, including Argentina, the U.S. and England, flocked to this promised socialist "utopia". Stalin eventually launched purges against the Jewish intelligentsia and, in particular, the J.A.R 's foreign-born Jews, whom he branded 'capitalist spies', but the Jewish Autonomous Region survives to this day. Accompanied by an affable but obliviously anti-Semitic guide, Director Yale Strom (Carpati, The Last Klezmer, Hot Pstromi) set out to find out if it is still a Jewish state and what happened to the Jews who remained there. His search yielded fascinating results in this strange twist on the theme of 'Jews from Distant Lands'. Narrated by Ron Perlman (Beauty and the Beast, and the Mexican horror film). Screened at

Living In Conflict

TITLE: Living In Conflict
YEAR: 2002
DIR/PROD: Etienne Kallos and Mikayla Mickelberg
LANGUAGE: Arabic, English, Hebrew, w/Eng. subtitles
TIME: Video, color, 70 min.
SOURCE: Mikayla Mickelberg Chroma Productions, 550 Nicasio Valley Rd, Nicasio CA 94946 415-662 9583
TEXT: Israelis and Palestinians explore the complex nature of their existence on opposing sides of the conflict. Each individual uses art, science, music or poetry as a way of surviving conflict in a region riddled with tensions. These personal stories give voice to the human dimension that is painfully lacking today in the black-and-white reportage on television news. The film begins in the fall of 1999 and features the Israeli poet Natan Yonatan, Israeli Palestinian writer, Hanna Abu Hanna, Rana Bishara, a young Israeli Palestinian artist,Yair Delal, Iraqi Israeli musician, and Dr. Rose-Bilbool, a scientist and survivor of the Holocaust.

Naming Prairie

TITLE: Naming Prairie
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Alexandra Juhasz
TIME: 7 minutes, beta SP
SOURCE: Seventh Art Releasing
TEXT: Friends and relatives join together to celebrate a Bay Area lesbian couple's Jewish baby-naming ceremony demonstrating how the most ancient of institutions - the family and Judaism- can adapt to a contemporary life. A joyous celebration of both tradition and change.


YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Frans Weisz
COUNTRY: Netherlands
LANGUAGE: Dutch w/ English ST
TIME: 90 min in 35mm color
SOURCE: Annette Oudejans, Egmond Film and Television, Potgieterstraat 38, Amsterdam 1053XX Netherlands www.EgmondFilm.NL Annette.Oudejans@Egmondfilm.NL Tel 3120 589 0909 Fax: 31-20-5890901
TEXT: A sequel to POLONAISE where the emotional family undercurrents at the wedding of Nico and Lea, reveal their having been hidden as children, with Christians during WWII. Alexander is doing a video update on his former family and friends. We find Lea and Nico smack in the middle of a classic mid-life crisis. Lea worries about Nico's emotional distance and is distressed to learn that Dory, Nico's first wife, is now pregnant at age 40--and is loath to reveal who the father is. Nico's best friend, Hans, is married with seven children but finds that he has eyes for another. This lively, fast-paced, humorous, and poignant story was produced by the same team as ANTONIA'S LINE, which received an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. The cast of POLONAISE was reassembled 12 years later with the warmth and familiarity of a family reunion. Fran Weisz, the film's director is reunited with award winning writer/poet, Judith Herzberg, with whom he also collaborated in the making of CHARLOTTE, an audience favorite from the SFJFF in 1982. and in 2002

Weintraub's syncopators

TITLE: Weintraub's syncopators
YEAR: 2000
DIR/PROD: Klaus Sander and Jorg Sussenbach
COUNTRY: germany
LANGUAGE: English, German w/ English ST
TIME: 65 min in Beta SP
SOURCE: Team@cine.impuls.DE Tel 4930-327-80-50 Cine Impuls, 31 Mommenstrasse, Berlin 12205 Germany
TEXT: In the 1920s, jazz was the hottest music in Berlin. Weintraub's Syncopators, a hugely successful jazz band whose virtuoso and comic performances electrified audiences in decadent Berlin, soon became one of the of most sought-after jazz ensembles. The band starred in several early sound films including THE BLUE ANGEL with Marlene Dietrich in 1930. When the Nazis forced them into exile because most of its members were Jews, the band toured Europe and the Far East. They eventually resettled in Australia in 1937 and continued to perform there until 1941 when, in a strange twist of fate, they were forcibly interned as enemy aliens.

A specially wonderful affair

TITLE: A specially wonderful affair
YEAR: 2002
DIR/PROD: Nathan Friedkin
TIME: 31 min in Beta SP
SOURCE: www.fDigital.Net Berkeley CA 510-526 0814
TEXT: Featuring the residents of the Jewish Home, San Francisco and the inspiration of singer/songwriter, Judith-Kate Friedman, this delightful movie documents the creative process of our elders as they write original music, rehearse and perform. Judith-Kate Friedman is the Home's songwriter-in-residence as well as a solo artist and member of Vocolot, a women's a cappella ensemble. She started the songwriting program through a grant from the California Arts Council to enable residents to sing their stories and to create a legacy of songs about their lives.

Unfair competition

TITLE: Unfair competition
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Ettore Scola
LANGUAGE: Italian w. English ST
TIME: 35mm, color, 105 min.
SOURCE: Adriana Chiesa, 24a Via Barnaba Oriani, Roma 00197 Italy. Tel: 3906.807.0400 Fax 3906.8068.7855
TEXT: The social critic and comic genius, Ettore Scola, returns with a sunny, bittersweet comedy set in a quaint neighborhood of Rome, home to one of the oldest Jewish communities in the world. Umberto (Diego Abatantuono) is a dashing gentile from Milan who owns a clothing store in the Jewish quarter. Leone (Sergio Castellito), a scrappy Roman Jew, owns the store next door. The two are fierce, antagonistic, competitors, whose relationship is complicated by the romantic liaison that develops between Umberto's bookish son, Paolo, and Leone's beautiful daughter, Susana. But when Mussolini enacts the racial laws of 1938, Umberto and brother-in-law, Angelo (Gerard Depardieu), never hesitate. They stand together with their Jewish neighbors and set out to prove that in union there is strength. Though Scola is celebrated in the pantheon of Italian filmmakers (he's a six-time recipient of the Italian critics' award for best picture), his work is less widely distributed in the United States, despite two Oscar nominations (THE FAMILY, 1977 and A SPECIAL DAY, 1987). Shown at the SFJff.ORG

The Gorilla and the Piker

TITLE: The Gorilla and the Piker
YEAR: 1997
DIR/PROD: Jacqueline Weissman
TIME: 29 Minutes
SOURCE: probably from Jackie Weissman, 2109 Se 29th Ave, Portland, OR 97214-5610 (503)872-9365
TEXT: This documentary focuses on the extremely humorous, sometimes explosive, but undeniably loving relationship between Sy and Marty Weissman, two middle aged New York brothers. Despite their open antagonism towards one another, Sy and Marty refuse to destroy the bonds between them. Two middle aged brothers in business together. Seymour (Sy) and Marty, are followed by the camera (wielded by one of their daughter's) as they argue and argue and reminisce and squabble and argue and do business together. One is a pseudo psychologist, the other is all aggression and business. One big Jewish family therapy session-heheheh. They are connected and loving and at the same time so hostile towards each other. They argue over whether one was disloyal to the other. Who is the putz? Who wants the breast of chicken? Will the relationship be solved (get better?) ? This filmmaker should get an Academy Award or a year of free therapy to get over the experience of making this film.

On Hostile Ground

TITLE: On Hostile Ground
YEAR: 2000
DIR/PROD: Liz Mermin (NYU/Harvard) and Jenny Raskin (NYU/Barnard)
TIME: 60 Minutes
SOURCE: Cowboy Pictures: 13 Laight Street, 6th Floor New York, NY 10010 Ph: 212.925.7800 Fax: 212.965.5655 e-mail: web
TEXT: A small number of healthcare professionals in this country have become targets in a civil war. And guess what? A lot of the are Jewish doctors. They receive little public support for their work and face dedicated and unpredictable opponents. Their ranks are shrinking. On Hostile Ground enters the lives of three abortion providers to reveal the obstacles (practical, legal, and emotional) that they face everyday, and shows them struggle with the decision to perform this procedure. It allows providers who work on hostile ground to tell their stories by being themselves, without the help of a narrator. They reveal what their professional decision has done to their personal and family lives. While they each have their own stories, they are all driven more by personal experiences and spiritual beliefs than by political conviction. They each express anger, confusion, and resentment in their own way. By weaving together three very different character portraits, this documentary takes an unusual approach to a volatile social conflict, portraying abortion through the personal stories of those who are in mortal danger because they provide it. The Village Voice published the following, "Barnett Slepian [a jewish doctor, editor] wasn't the first American doctor killed for the anti-abortion cause, but his murder in October 1998 did signal a ghastly point of no return: He died by a single bullet blasted through the kitchen window of his home in suburban Buffalo, in front of his children. In Liz Mermin and Jenny Raskin's On Hostile Ground, a pithy video documentary that chronicles the day-to-day lives of three abortion providers, Slepian's death is a galvanizing shock. Morris Wortman of nearby Rochester starts carrying a gun. Richard Stuntz, an aging Baltimore doctor who spends three days a week traveling a 500-mile roundabout of clinics in Alabama, decides to keep his drapes closed all the time, and affirms, "It's not safe for a doctor to live in the community where he works." Susan Cahill, a physician's assistant in Montana, begins to wonder if her dangerous obligations at work are outweighing her duties as a wife and mother. On Hostile Ground points up an odd rule of semantics that applies to both sides of the debate: An OB-GYN who doesn't perform abortions is called an OB-GYN, while an OB-GYN who does perform abortions is called an abortion doctor (or, according to the Daily News headline when Slepian's alleged killer was finally apprehended last Thursday, "Abort-Doc"). Wortman says that terminations make up only a small part of his practice, but he doubts he'll be remembered for anything else. Mermin and Raskin's subjects are self-chosen exceptions to an unwritten rule (88 percent of OB-GYN residents don't receive abortion training), and Wortman could be speaking for all of them when he says that after Slepian's death he felt "branded." A pro-life landlord evicts him from his clinic, while Cahill, whose office was firebombed in 1994, is singled out by a bill in the Montana state legislature that would prohibit PAs from performing abortions (the state supreme court finally struck it down). Wortman, the most overtly activist of the trio, is a constant media presence in western New York, and goes so far as to say that his murder is an acute possibility that he accepts. In the interview segments, he often returns to his late, beloved mother-a Holocaust survivor who, while pregnant with Morris, tried to abort by repeatedly jumping off a table onto her belly. "It was unfortunate that in those days women like her didn't have a choice," he says. "People with money had choices, but women like her didn't." ... Mermin and Raskin's film will no doubt be tagged with testimonials like "a compelling call to action" (per Julianne Moore, an outspoken supporter of the film), and indeed, it could prove so for a young medical student. Wortman, Cahill, and especially Stuntz share a matter-of-fact, low-key rectitude that can be intensely moving. But On Hostile Ground, to its credit, is inevitably a tale more cautionary than inspirational. The film rightly presents its subjects as a rare breed who started their path in another era, and it's difficult to imagine who at this stage would follow them.

Main Page is -- Revised: 1/15/98, 7/5/98, March 2000, July 2000, May 2002
Copyright © 1996-2002 Jewish Film Archive online website, Larry Mark, webmaster gadol -- Revised: 1/15/98, 7/5/98, March 1999, May 2002
Copyright © 1996-2002 Jewish Film Archive online website, Larry Mark, webmaster gadol

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